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Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Art of Preschool

I recently scored my dream job.  I didn't know it was my dream job, but I'm next to certain that it is.  Starting in the fall, I am going to be teaching preschool.  Just two days a week to  two year olds.  I am as excited as a kid at Christmas. 

Because God has found a way to combine two of my great loves.  Kids and crafts.  I love, love, love crafts.  Not the kind of crafts that some of my friends love, the kind that you can post pictures of and people want to buy.  I love looking at other people's frilly tutus, fancy scrapbooking templates, and other potentially profitable craft items, but that's not the stuff I like to make.  No, I'm talking about the paper plate, construction paper, and pinto bean variety of craft.  Macaroni necklaces, an octopus made out of yarn, and anything involving a pipe cleaner?  I'm THERE!

I have not had much opportunity to indulge in this passion lately.  I stopped making little things just for the fun of it when I was in my teens (yes, my teens; I'm telling you I LOVE this stuff).  Occasionally I would have a friend with a crafty kid and I would get to play.  I volunteered briefly as an arts and crafts teacher for Heart House Dallas.  I had high hopes when I married a guy with a 6 year old and 3 year old daughter (my darlings:  Step 1 and Step 2; now 13 and nearly 10).  They were never that into it though.  They were (and are) much more into sports and, although Step 2 goes crazy with some paper and markers, her interest in macaroni art was limited.  Eddie hardly ever wanted to so much as lift a crayon.  For the most part, Baby Boy thinks finger paint is icky and would rather play Angry Birds on my phone.  What can I say?  It's a hard knock life.

Baby Girl has been my last hope for a kid who shares my passion for paste and feathers.  And I think I may have lucked out.  She was willing to do some fall leaf art and, like her older sister, is never too far from her paper and crayons.  I recently introduced fingerpaint and, though most of it ends up in her hair, it's a hit nonetheless.  Score!

And then, out of nowhere, I hit the mother of all job offers.  I volunteered at VBS with the director of our church's preschool program.  A few weeks later, she emailed me to let me know that they had a job opening and would I be interested?  Would I?!?  I would pay for that job!

Now, I realize there are many people who don't feel this way.  I hear a lot about the terrible twos and how people are so ready for their kids to grow out of the toddler/preschool stage.  I feel completely differently.  My kids are growing up way too fast.  I love these days.  Today I read books about zoo animals and talking vegetables over and over again.  I watched Diego and the Wonder Pets.  I danced both the hokey-pokey and the chicken dance.  I wiped tears, noses and bottoms and picked Play-Doh out of my carpet.  It has taken me nearly an hour to write this very short, simple blog because I keep having to do most the aforementioned things over again.  And it has been a great day.  A fantastic day.  One of the best days ever.  And, God willing, I get to do it all over again tomorrow. 

I'm not looking forward to my kids being "big kids," even less to them actually being all grown up.  But that is one of the reasons I am so thrilled to be teaching preschool.  Because maybe I never have to lose the joy of these days, even as I gain the joys of the older years.  Maybe I get be covered in fingerpaint and peanut butter for many, many years to come.  That makes me happy.  Because I DO like to talk to tomatoes, squash can make me smile, and, let's face it:  the chicken dance rocks.


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